Lake Placid was a busy tourist town and kind of cool with its Olympic village history, but I was ready to hike. I did pause to study the high jump towers. I can’t even imagine that jump with no parachute!
I started hiking and knew I was in for a tough hike within the first few miles. This was a lightly used wilderness trail with plenty of mud bogs, rocks, blowdowns, and ancient bog bridge spikes waiting to impale an unsuspecting hiker.
Many of the railroad tie bridges were completely decayed and covered with a slick layer of decaying wood, moss, and leaves. These were the bridges you either walked around and tiptoed across with great caution.
The obstacles and hurdles add to the beauty of these wild trails. Trees, undergrowth, fungi – everything is reaching out to take back the path humans have cut across it. This section of the NPT was losing its battle with the forest and it felt like stepping back into an earlier time when trails were functional and maintained only by the feet that tread upon them.
I passed three backpackers with a dog and one minimalist. I think the minimalist was wearing sandals. My toes cringed just thinking about the exposure. How do you hike like that through foot-sucking mud? I had images of sticks piercing toes and rocks jamming into cracked toenails.
I finally reached Moose Pond around 9:30 and said hi to three friendly fellas spread across the shelter. They were comfortable and one was even perched up in the middle of the shelter in a lightweight chair. They willingly offered to make space but I don’t usually stay in shelters – mice, Noro virus, snoring, rafter hanging snakes – any number of reasons.
After circling the shelter area a few times I found a good site below the shelter and set up my new giant Duplex Tarp Tent. Organizing my gear required actually reaching for it for the first time in years. I was usually trying to squeeze it in around me so it would not get wet. It was nice to have that kind of room at only 19 ounces.
I ate the sandwich I had packed out while sitting above Moose Pond. The color was beginning to pop around the pond, and backed by the mountains I had a stunning view before the rain chased me into my tent. Dreary, grey days are some of the best for Fall color, and having a pond to reflect the images is the icing on the cake.
I lay listening to the guys have a good time and drop loud objects, into the night. I probably should have slept in the shelter so I could fuss and keep the noise down, but that would have been no fun.
Pleasant Surprises – My Hyperlite Junction 3400 was surprisingly comfortable with eight days of food, and I also only fell twice in the mud.